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New Writing from Bangladesh: Aruni Kashyap in conversation with novelists Rahad Abir & Gemini Wahhaj at the DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta!


7pm. Decatur Library

January 18, 2024


About the Event:

Join the Georgia Center for the Book to welcome Bangladeshi American authors Rahad Abir and Gemini Wahhaj to celebrate their new novels. They'll be in conversation with Aruni Kashyap. Registration requested.

About the Authors:

Rahad Abir is the author of the novel Bengal Hound. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Witness, The Los Angeles Review, Himal Southasian, Courrier International, The Wire, and elsewhere. He has an MFA in fiction from Boston University. He is the recipient of the Charles Pick Fellowship at the University of East Anglia and the Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction. His work has been translated into French and Hindi. Currently he is working on a short story collection, which was a finalist for the 2021 Miami Book Fair Emerging Writer Fellowship.

Gemini Wahhaj is the author of the novel The Children of This Madness (7.13 Books, Fall 2023), a complex tale of modern Bengalis, one that illuminates the recent histories not only of Bangladesh, but America and Iraq, and the short-story collection Katy Family (Jackleg Press, Spring 2025). Her fiction is in or forthcoming in Granta, Third Coast, Chicago Quarterly Review, and other magazines. She has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Houston, where she received the James A. Michener award for fiction (judged by Claudia Rankine) and the Cambor/Inprint fellowship. She is Associate Professor of English at Lone Star College in Houston.

About the Books:

At its very core a story of love and loss, Rahad Abir's Bengal Hound traces the turbulent years of East Pakistan that led to a mass revolution, eventually culminating in the creation of Bangladesh. Rahad Abir conjures up characters haunted by memory and trauma in a society reeling from the pains of the Partition of British India. A powerful exploration of the dynamics of nationalism, family, religion, and gender relations, Bengal Hound reveals how the fracturing and making of countries leave indelible marks on its people.

In The Children of this Madness, Gemini Wahhaj pens a complex tale of modern Bengalis, one that illuminates the recent histories not only of Bangladesh, but America and Iraq. Told in multiple voices over successive eras, this is the story of Nasir Uddin and his daughter Beena, and the intersection of their distant, vastly different lives. As the US war in Iraq plays out a world away, and Beena struggles to belong to Houston’s tony Bengali American community—many of whom serve the same corporate masters she sees destroying Iraq—recently widowed engineering professor Nasir Uddin journeys to America not only to see Beena and her new husband but the many former students who make up the immigrant community Beena has come to view with ambivalence. With subtlety, grace, and love, Wahhaj dramatizes this mingling of generations and cultures, and the search for an ever-elusive home that define the Bengali American experience.

About the Moderator:

Aruni Kashyap is the author of His Father’s Disease: Stories and the novel The House With a Thousand Stories. Along with editing a collection of stories called How to Tell the Story of an Insurgency, he has also translated two novels from Assamese to English, published by Zubaan Books and Penguin Random House. Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Faculty Research Grants in the Humanities and Arts Program, Arts Lab Faculty Fellowship, and the Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing to the University of Edinburgh, his poetry collection, There is No Good Time for Bad News was nominated for the 58th Georgia Author of the Year Awards 2022, a finalist for the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and Four Way Books Levis Award in Poetry. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Catapult, Bitch Media, The Boston Review, Electric Literature, The Oxford Anthology of Writings from Northeast, The Kenyon Review, The New York Times, The Guardian UK, and others. He also writes in Assamese and is the author of a novel called Noikhon Etia Duroit, and three novellas. He is an Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing and the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Georgia, Athens.

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